Phil Mickelson’s Mutiny Fails; He Apologizes and Will Take Time Off

I ONLY KNOW WHAT I READ in the golf media, so trying to follow and understand Phil Mickelson’s recent comments about the evil PGA TOUR and his crusade to save the day by joining forces with a Saudi-backed mega-money league has been perplexing, to say the least.

Yes, even for Phil, who, perhaps too often, is “fire, aim, ready” when it comes to his public and reported statements.

Phil’s enormous popularity and contributions to the game have created enormous capital with a lot of folks that matter, including fans, sponsors and others. At times, a portion of that capital has been devoured by small scandals and “Phil being Phil” in weird or unseemly ways. (But then he does stuff like win the PGA Championship at age 51 and charms us all over again.)

However, this time wasn’t about gambling, or throwing U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson under the team bus before you could say “press conference,” or putting a moving golf ball at the U.S. Open.

It looked to me like Phil was leading a mutiny, or at least he thought he was.

By Sunday, if Phil was still counting heads, he must have realized it was over. Player after big-name player, many of whom might be seen as Lefty’s buddies, pledged allegiance to the flag of Ponte Vedra.

Now I guess “Captain” Phil is going down with the ship.

He issued the following apology this afternoon:

“Although it doesn’t look this way now given my recent comments, my actions throughout this process have always been with the best interest of golf, my peers, sponsors, and fans. There is the problem of off record comments being shared out of context and without my consent, but the bigger issue is that I used words I sincerely regret that do not reflect my true feelings or intentions. It was reckless, I offended people, and I am deeply sorry for my choice of words. I’m beyond disappointed and will make every effort to self-reflect and learn from this.

“Golf desperately needs change, and real change is always preceded by disruption. I have always known that criticism would come with exploring anything new. I still chose to put myself at the forefront of this to inspire change, taking the hits publicly to do the work behind the scenes.

“My experience with LIV Golf Investments has been very positive. I apologize for anything I said that was taken out of context. The specific people I have worked with are visionaries and have only been supportive. More importantly they passionately love golf and share my drive to make the game better. They have a clear plan to create an updated and positive experience for everyone including players, sponsors, networks, and fans.

“I have incredible partners, and these relationships mean so much more to me than a contract. Many have been my most influential mentors and I consider all to be lifelong friends. The last thing I would ever want to do is compromise them or their business in any way, and I have given all of them the option to pause or end the relationship as I understand it might be necessary given the current circumstances. I believe in these people and companies and will always be here for them with or without a contract.

“I have made a lot of mistakes in my life and many have been shared with the public. My intent was never to hurt anyone and I’m so sorry to the people I have negatively impacted. This has always been about supporting the players and the game and I appreciate all the people who have given me the benefit of the doubt.

“Despite my belief that some changes have already been made within the overall discourse, I know I need to be accountable. For the past 31 years I have lived a very public life and I have strived to live up to my own expectations, be the role model the fans deserve, and be someone that inspires others. I’ve worked to compete at the highest level, been available to media, represent my sponsors with integrity, engage with volunteers and sign every autograph for my incredible fans. I have experienced many successful and rewarding moments that I will always cherish, but I have often failed myself and others too. The past 10 years I have felt the pressure and stress slowly affecting me at a deeper level. I know I have not been my best and desperately need some time away to prioritize the ones I love most and work on being the man I want to be.”

Apologies these days always seem to lean heavily on things taken “out of context,” which Phil says more than once in the above apology.

Sorry, but I don’t buy it.

His apology is a plea for forgiveness and mercy. Remember fun Phil, sign-every-autograph Phil, major-winner Phil.

The time away?

A really good idea. And perhaps also his penance to the PGA TOUR for his recent folly.

Photo of author
Neil Sagebiel

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